Stopping by Wood on a Rainy Evening

After braving one of Miami’s legendary thunderstorms for a grueling 60-minute drive through the swamp formerly known as Old Cutler Road, I arrived at the Wood Tavern to investigate both decriminalization wafting through the air and free tacos. Witnessing the typically glorious multicultural mix that is the real Miami – tattoos, earrings, man buns, heels, suits, ties, and beer up in the house – I settled on a good vantage point from which to study this. Two minutes and 38 seconds later, a chorus rang out.

Everyone seemed to be singing in unison. “Baaaaaby, I’m hot just like an oven. I need some lovin’ and baaaaaby I can’t hold it much longer. I’m feeling stronger and stronger,” Moments later a tuba and pitched bass drum filled the bottom and a snare drumlined the top of the Hot 8 Brass Band’s version of the beloved Marvin Gaye classic which you may have Shazamed after seeing Chef in the cinema last year.

Some say music, like pizza, is good even when it’s bad, though current radio, like the $5 Hot n Ready, certainly challenges the concept. In any case, like so many others, I have had to scour the Internet, Soundcloud, Spotify, and iTunes to find good sounds for a number of years now, but a few years ago, while searching BBC’s Gilles Peterson – he who spins “anything with a groove” – I encountered New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band, who will be one of several fine acts featured at South Miami-Dade’s Cultural Art Center (the Cake) on Saturday October 10, for the free Backyard Bash.  There may be no such thing as a free lunch, and though the hope is that we subscribe to future events at the SMDCAC, this is just one more thing that good taxation goes toward.

Brass bands may evoke marching band symbiosis, but the real relationship comes via HBCUs like Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman and Jackson State. Old-timers may remember a time when everybody had horns blazing. Chicago Transit Authority, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Tower of Power, etc. from the 60s and the Average White Band and Earth Wind and Fire on their heels in the 70s. But nobody lives the brass band life like those in New Orleans do. The Big Easy has dozens of these bands – Rebirth, Dirty Dozen, Preservation Hall, Trombone Shorty, and Bonerama are just a few. Naturally, SMDCAC’s Eric Fliss is on the case once again, as he was with Jon Batiste way before Late Night Colbert. This time, Hot 8 joins Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the actual headliner, along with Aaron Lebos, and local hero DJ Le Spam.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is of a Swing throwback genre quite rare, consisting perhaps of them, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Joe Jackson for a moment, Brian Setzer, and the Clockwork Orange looking Tiger Lillies. In any case, with Publix now carrying Community Coffee and every mall in America selling some sort of Cajun chicken, our bedroom community should be well prepared for a little funk in our version of the South at SMDCAC’s 5th Anniversary Season Kickoff Event. The action starts at 7pm and tickets are free, but you must order them online here:

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